NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The latest e-commerce endeavor for Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, is to start a shopping Web site that will feature about 40,000 products.|
The Atlanta-based company, which is also offering customers the option of store pickups or home delivery, is testing out its shopping Web site first in Las Vegas before going national.
Ron Griffin, Home Depot's Senior V.P. of Information Services, who appeared on CNNfn's Street Sweep, said "We actually started to get on the ice last fall. And we were planning on putting 4,000 to 5,000 items out, ones that be hot sellers. Before we did that, we decided to talk to the customers, the same way we do with everything else, and find out what they really wanted. So we talked to a lot of professionals, a lot of do-it-yourself customers, and found out. Instead of 4,000 or 5,000 items, they really wanted to see what's available in the Home Depot store, to know how to do stuff, how to get project lists and detailed product-specific information. They also wanted to be able to compare different models, all online." (327K WAV) or (327K AIF)
"So we said if that's the case, we need to go back and rethink our strategy and come on instead with an integrated approach, where we're really adding a whole new level of service, for the customer, adding bandwidth to the whole business, so that we're now leveraging the Internet, putting the whole store online. That's what the customers asked for, because they said, I don't want to do business one way through one channel, sometimes I may want to order something and have it delivered directly to me; sometimes I may place an order and come in and have it called or pick it up."
Based on the success of the Las Vegas trial, Home Depot is looking to make Austin and San Antonio, Texas, the next cities on their list, and is considering some time next year to possibly roll out nationally.
"We are very, very pleased with the results of the trial in Las Vegas so far. We have it in the hands of about 600 of our professional customers. They told us several things they would like to see specifically. In fact, most of us aren't aware of this, we're already doing thousands and thousands of orders daily with our professionals. Most orders come in via fax and via phone, and then someone has to key them into the system. And a lot of our pros said, I would like to place an order via the Internet, which we are very, very excited by, because that will actually save us labor in doing that."
Shares of Home Depot (HD: Research, Estimates), which are included in the Standard & Poor's 500 and the Dow Jones industrial index, were trading at $49.12, up 75 cents late Thursday.
--compiled by Staff Writer Lucy Banduci